Motown’s Greatest Hits – How Sweet It Is

The Motown’s Greatest Hits – How Sweet It Is production celebrates the Motown sound, offering an evening of spectacular sound and visuals. Now in its 15th straight year, this live show blends the classic Motown sound with choreography and a talented band.

The production features famous Motown hits from Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, The Jackson Five, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Edwin Starr, The Isley Brothers and more.

Now touring the UK, shows for the 2017 season run through early December. Each performance runs about two hours, including an interval.

Motown was founded in 1959 by Barry Gordy Jr. as Tamla Records. One year later, it was officially incorporated as Motown Record Corporation.

As an African-American-owned record company, Motown played an integral part in pop music’s racial integration.

The Motown Sound was developed in the 1960s, which includes a unique blend of soul and pop. The label achieved tremendous commercial success considering its small size. Motown had 79 records on the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 1960 and 1969.

Early artists on the label included Eddie Holland, Mable John and Mary Wells. The song “Shop Around” by the Miracles was the first million-selling record for the label and the group’s first number-one hit on the R&B charts.

Between 1961 and 1971, Motown had more than 100 top 10 hits. Top artists on the label during that time period included the Jackson 5, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, the Miracles and the Marvelettes.

Motown operated several other labels, which also included the Contours, the Temptations and Martha and the Vandellas. The Soul label included Gladys Knit & the Pips, Shorty Long and Jimmy Ruffin.

By the mid-1960s, the label had offices in both Los Angeles and New York. Gradually, the label moved its operations to Los Angeles. A number of artists either stayed in Detroit or left the label, including Glady Knight & the Pips, Martha Reeves the labels’ Funk Brothers band.

By the 1970s, Motown had branched into film, delivering two hits: Lady Sings the Blues, a biographical film on Billie Holiday; and Mahogany.

In the 1990s, Motown signed on the artists Boyz II Men, Erykah Badu, Brian McKnight, Johnny Gill and 702.

In the late 1990s, the label was absorbed into Universal Music Group.

Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, the Temptations and Stevie Wonder remained with Motown since its early days, although a few left the label to record with others before returning.

Motown returned to its original brand in 2011 and operates independently.